On October 5, the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center at Vassar College becomes the sole east-coast venue for a retrospective of photography by John Gutmann (1905-1998), whose life is one of the great hidden stories of twentieth-century photography.
Born in what is now Wroclaw, Poland, and educated in the art schools and cafés of 1920s Berlin, Gutmann came to the United States following the rise of Hitler in 1933. Unlike most art-minded immigrants of that time who settled in New York City, Gutmann made his way to San Francisco. In need of a trade and a creative outlet, he took up photography, and over the next half-century created a wide-ranging body of images. Gutmann trained a skeptical and amused European eye upon the vibrant American urban scene, employing a graphic sophistication he had absorbed from the innovative photojournals of 1920s Weimar Germany. From the Great Depression to the World War II home front, from the postwar boom years to the counterculture of the 1960s, Gutmann portrayed his adopted country with the verve and insight of a true original, and an inveterate outsider.
"The Photography of John Gutmann: Culture Shock" is on view at the Loeb Art Center from October 5 to December 16, 2001. Organized by the Iris and Gerald Cantor Center for Visual Arts at Stanford University from the collection of The Capital Group Companies, Inc., the exhibition is sponsored at Vassar by The Smart Family Foundation, Inc. Accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue, "Culture Shock" will be complemented by "Transatlantic," a rotating exhibit of modernist photographs from the Loeb Art Center's collection, by photographers such as Brassaï, André Kertész, Andreas Feininger, and Man Ray. The exhibits will open with a reception and a talk by Loeb curator Joel Smith at 6 p.m. on Friday, October 5.
For additional information, call the Frances Lehman Loeb Art Center at (845) 437-5237.
Vassar College is a highly selective, coeducational, independent, residential liberal arts college founded in 1861.